A memorial for James Craig Anderson is seen outside Metro Inn in Jackson, Miss.(Photo: Barbara Gauntt, AP)
JACKSON, Miss. -- Two more Mississippi men have now pleaded guilty to
federal hate crime charges for coming to Jackson last year to harass
African-Americans citizens. Prosecutors wouldn't say whether additional
people could be charged.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 20, of
Brandon; and William Kyle Montgomery, 23, pleaded guilty in federal
court in Jackson to one count of conspiracy to commit a hate crime and
one count of committing a hate crime.
Their guilty pleas come nine
months after three others, Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler and John
Aaron Rice, pleaded guilty in March to federal hate crime charges,
culminating in the June 26, 2011, hit-and-run death of James Craig
Anderson, a black man.
All five are in custody and awaiting
sentencing on the federal charges. Conspiracy carries a maximum penalty
of five years; hate crime a maximum of 10 years.
prosecutors said the five were part of a group of young white males and
females from Rankin County who came to Jackson to make a sport of
attacking African Americans, especially those they believed were
homeless or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
defendants and their co-conspirators boasted about their participation
in racially motivated physical assaults in Jackson on prior occasions,
which involved the use of dangerous weapons that resulted in bodily
injury to African-American victims," Justice Department attorney Sheldon
Beer said in court Tuesday.
The actions of Dedmon, 20, Butler,
20, Rice, 19, Montgomery and others culminated in the early morning of
June 26 when Anderson, 47, was attacked and then run over by Dedmon.
Dedmon already has been sentenced in Hinds County Circuit Court to two
life terms in prison after pleading guilty to murder under a state hate
Gaskamp, however, wasn't part of the group that came to
Jackson the morning Anderson was killed. He had been on previous trips,
including one where a black man was attacked in the parking lot of a
golf course and begged for his life. Beer said the defendants laughed
about the man begging for his life.
On Tuesday, the charges
against Gaskamp and Montgomery were unsealed and they entered the guilty
pleas before U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves.
Anderson's sister, Barbara Anderson-Young, said "we are still looking for justice."
has advocated that all seven of the young whites who came to Jackson
the morning her brother was killed should face justice.
Craig Anderson was in a hotel parking lot and appeared to be intoxicated
when he was approached by the first group of young people. Once Dedmon
arrived on the seen, Anderson was physically attacked and then ran when
Dedmon sped out of the parking lot.
A hotel video surveillance camera captured the image of Dedmon in his pickup truck running over Anderson.
case was the first time the federal law known as the Matthew Shepard
and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act has been used in a case
where the defendants' actions resulted in a victim's death.
Shepard-Byrd Act, signed into law in 2009, was named for James Byrd Jr.,
who was killed in Jasper, Texas, in 1998 after being dragged behind a
pickup on an asphalt road with his ankles bound by a chain. Shepard, a
student, was tortured and murdered in 1998 in Wyoming because of a
perception that he was homosexual.
On Tuesday, one of Anderson's
family members became emotional, and the family's attorney, Winston
Thompson, left the courtroom and brought back some paper towels for him.
On the other side, family members of Gaskamp appeared visibly shaken and Montgomery's relatives cried.
The family members wouldn't comment.
attorney, Rick Mitchell, said he wouldn't comment at this time, but
said later via phone that the family wanted to make it clear his client
wasn't with the group that came to Jackson when Anderson was killed.
Montgomery's attorney also wouldn't comment.
Jimmie E Gates, The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger